Divorce, Debt, and Finances

Tips, Struggles and Successes navigating Divorce, Debt and Finances

7 Ways to “Save” Yourself After Divorce

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No one said it was going to be easy financially after a divorce, and by now you may be figuring out that it's downright difficult!

While there were two incomes before, now there is only one, and the bills still need to get paid. For many of us, this means an entire lifestyle change.

So what can you do to continue to save for your long and short term goals? Lots of things! The way to start saving right now is to make it a habit--one you will want to stick with!

Here are a few tips to saving, as you venture into life "on your own":

  1. Keep your cool. Losing sleep over your bills won't change the fact that they still need to be paid. Over time, lost sleep will end up impacting your health, which will cost you: missed days of work, doctor visits, and bad habits that are hard to break (smoking and drinking, for example). So, don't freak out, develop a plan (budget), and seek the support of others-- counselors, family, and friends.
  2. Create a budget. In your former married life this may or may not have been important. As you struggle to survive financially on your own though, a budget can be your lifeline. So, the first thing is to create a budget! Don't forget to add in the extra expenses that have been incurred with your divorce, such as legal fees, full-time daycare, and replacing items "lost" in the divorce. By laying it all out there, you will be able to see your current financial picture and where you stand. While this process can be overwhelming, it is most certainly necessary. Don't forget to add savings goals to your budget. My top two: retirement and an emergency fund.
  3. Paying Bills.  For the first time in your life this may become your responsibility. While financial record keeping and paying bills can be intimidating, have faith in yourself; you can do this! Set up a bill pay "station." I have a basket in my kitchen. If you plan to pay via U.S. postal mail, allow enough time (usually 5-7 days) prior to the due date for mailing, and purchase stamps. To save myself the hassle, I pay all of my bills online via bill pay through my bank. Most companies also have automatic drafts you can set up-- just be sure to mark these dates on your calendar so you know if the money is available in your account. Remember: pay your bills first, and use what is left over for daily expenses, food, and gas.
  4. Your new grocery bill.  Whether or not you have kids, you will probably find, as I did, a new grocery shopping experience. One less adult and your new eating habits, as you adjust to cooking for just you, or you and your kids, makes a difference. I shop every two weeks for staples, with the occasional milk or bread pickup. On my "big" trips I use coupons, take advantage of bulk prices, and shop around for sales.
  5. Do you really want to keep the "big" house?  As you look at your income and expenses from your budget, where do you stand with your biggest expense? Housing costs? Can you pay your mortgage or rent payment with a weekly paycheck, or 25% of your income? If not, you may want to consider downsizing. Some options may include: buying or renting a smaller place or taking on a roommate.
  6. A job on the side.  Hopefully you have full-time employment and potentially some spousal or child support coming in. Even under the best of circumstances, any extra income can come in handy as you try to improve your financial picture and find ways to save.  Consider something you can do part-time from home or after the kids are in bed.
  7. Don't be afraid to ask for help.  If you have cut back everywhere you can and taken a part-time job, but still can't meet your expenses, let alone save money, ask for help! There are many public assistance programs available; check here to see what is offered in your state. Credit card debt a problem? Consider a Debt Relief Plan. Most importantly, know that you are not alone; there are ways you can get financial and emotional support if you need it.

Have you been through a divorce? How did you cope with the loss of income, and how did you save? Please tell us in the comments.

Related  Posts

Dealing with Divorce

5 Smart Financial Moves to Make After Divorce

Protecting That Three Digit Number After Divorce

Suzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor working in our Ask the Expert forums as a coach and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne. Suzanne writes for our Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs.  Ask her questions, share your story or just follow Suzanne on her journey as she navigates dealing with divorce, debt, and finances. Suzanne is also very active on Twitter and you can follow her on one of these two accounts: ADivorcedMom and Ask CareOne where she shares the latest debt industry news and tips to keep your finances in check.

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  • Going through a divorce is certainly financially draining, but it can also cause severe emotional distress.

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